Author: Cate Pearce
Publication Date: September 22, 2021
Print Length: 568 pages
Read Date(s): September 14, 2021 – September 16, 2021
Three women will betray the black crown. A Knight. A Duchess. A Queen.
Raena Schinen narrowly escaped when the Queen’s guard murdered her entire family. If Raena’s survival is exposed, she’ll be next. For fifteen years Raena has hidden as a male Knight, “Sir Rowan”, consumed by her vengeful desire to assassinate the Queen.
The moment Raena is close enough to exact her revenge, she is unexpectedly exiled to a foreign land. There she serves the common-born Duchess Aven Colby, whose suspicious kinship with the Queen further threatens Raena’s delicate secrets.
Just as they become united in a common goal to curb a looming invasion, unexpected heat and romance blossoms between “Sir Rowan” and Aven. The peril demands they set out on a journey to form clandestine political alliances, risking the Queen’s wrath, and drawing Raena and Aven closer together.
But no one in the kingdom could have imagined the sinister foe rising from below the surface. In order to save themselves and those they love, Raena, Aven, and the Queen must recognize who are the oppressors and who will unite against the Black Crown.
My Mini Review
***Thanks to NetGalley & the publisher for providing a copy of the book. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
This book was a truly epic fantasy adventure with interesting characters and an intriguing plot filled with secrets. The world-building was extremely intricate with complex politics and a variety of fascinating peoples and creatures. There was a great deal of political intrigue and scheming in this book, which I enjoyed a lot. The sapphic romance was fun to read, and, in general, the book had good LGBT representation. So, there were many elements of the book that were enjoyable. However, the pacing was incredibly slow, especially in the first half of the book, and, at times, it felt like the author was just checking off the different elements of the story without successfully weaving them together. For example, the first third the of the book largely focuses on politics followed by a shift to the romance before finally centering on the invasion toward the end. It all just felt a bit disjointed at times even if the different parts were interesting on their own. For the most part, I enjoyed the writing except for some of the dialogue, which felt incredibly stiff and unnatural at times. I also didn’t care for the ending. It was pretty anticlimactic after everything the characters went through during the story. Overall, though, I enjoyed the story and am intrigued by the world the author created. If you like fantasy with lots of political maneuvering and sapphic romance, you might enjoy this book if you can get past the slow pacing. Therefore, I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.